Trevalga Cross in Trevalga churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014214

Date first listed: 13-Feb-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Trevalga Cross in Trevalga churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Trevalga

National Grid Reference: SX0811590022


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the `Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

The Trevalga Cross has survived well, and is a good example of a wheel-headed cross. The elliptical shape of the head and the crudely executed cross motifs suggest that this is an early example of a wheel headed cross. In its original location this cross functioned as a waymarker on a church path. Its removal to the churchyard and re-erection there in the 19th century illustrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Trevalga Cross, situated to the south of the church in Trevalga churchyard on the north coast of Cornwall. The Trevalga Cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head set on a rectangular, low mound or base. The overall height of the monument is 1.57m. The principal faces are orientated east-west. The head measures 0.43m high by 0.48m wide and is 0.27m thick. Both principal faces bear a relief equal limbed cross: that on the west face is inclined to the left, that on the east face has slightly splayed ends to the limbs. The shaft measures 1.14m high by 0.4m wide at the base tapering to 0.33m at the neck, and is 0.27m thick at the base tapering slightly to 0.25m at the neck. The base is almost completely overgrown by a layer of turf. A low slate wall, built in herringbone pattern, forms an edge to the base mound. The Trevalga Cross is located to the south of the church. Prior to 1868 it acted as a waymarker on a church path. In 1868 it was removed to Trevalga churchyard and re-erected in its present position. The historian Langdon suggested that this cross is an early example of a wheel headed cross as it is crudely executed and the head is elliptical in shape rather than round. The gravel surface of the footpath passing to the south and west of the cross, the grave with its chest tomb to the east and the grave with its headstone and the memorial slab to the south, where these fall within the protective margin of the cross, are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 28453

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 701.1,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 08/18: Pathfinder Series 1325 Source Date: 1986 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing